This blog post is dedicated to my Big Sis who is celebrating a significant birthday today! As a loving sister, I couldn’t possibly disclose which landmark birthday she has reached, especially as she was so supportive when I hit forty last year. Despite the fact that she is nine years older than me we are extremely close…but it wasn’t always that way.
My older siblings had repeatedly requested a puppy from my parents, but instead, I showed up and proceeded to destroy the relative peace and quiet of the family home. As a child, my relationship with my big sister was sometimes a little strained. I was her annoying little sister who “got away with murder” and she was my annoying big sister who never wanted to play and wouldn’t let me speak to her friends. I often wind her up about how horrible she was to me but I certainly gave as good as I got.
We always had music on at Sunday dinner and as the youngest I often got to choose which cassette we were going to listen to. One Sunday as the music played, my big sister got up from the table, burst into tears and disappeared to her bedroom. I managed a look of innocence as my dad asked in his gruff voice,
“Who's put this on?”
Apparently the Carpenters classic “Goodbye to Love” is not appropriate when your big sister has just broken up with her first long-term boyfriend! Who knew? Well, actually, I did!
As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold and my big sister patiently waited until her wedding day when she made me wear…THIS!
As a pale-skinned, ginger, “bonny” teenager I generally avoided peach, scoop necked, puff sleeved dresses at all costs. Luckily for me my big sister was there to make all my fashion dreams come true on her special day. I was going to make a grand gesture and promise, as a birthday present, that I would never bring it up again but it’s only been 27 years and I just need a little more time to heal!
I don’t know when it happened.
I don’t know when we suddenly moved from being sisters to friends, but I’m glad we did.
The obvious Scriptural link would lead us to the home of Mary and Martha, probably the most well-known sisters in the Bible. The only parallels I could draw is that they were like chalk and cheese, had their ups and downs but stuck together when things got tough. I don’t think Jesus is going to turn up at my sister’s birthday meal on Saturday. If He did, then a frantic sister would be the least of His worries. He’d probably struggle to be heard over my dad and sister in the kitchen having a lively debate about the correct way to load the dishwasher and whether it was time to warm the plates through.
No…Mary and Martha isn't quite the right story!
Every Tuesday we get together to talk about life and family and work and when the new NEXT catalogue is coming out. You know…the big stuff! Unfortunately, my sister grew up in church at a time where rules and regulations had the upper hand over grace. Despite the fact that we don’t necessarily believe the same things, my sister understands that my faith is part of who I am. Without any cries of hypocrisy she lets me share, with brutal honesty, every aspect of my faith.
The people I’m struggling to forgive.
The frustration of waiting on God.
The guilt of unkind words.
When I’m with my sister I’m allowed to be me, “religious” bits and all!
She is my greatest cheerleader, friend and encourager. She’s the one who has supported me through every daft decision I’ve made and cried with me when I’ve realised the size of my mistake. She has cooked meals after surgery, listened through depression and understood when I’ve felt like motherhood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
When I think of my Big Sis, then the words of thanksgiving Paul wrote to the church of Philippi come to mind. There were many who felt that Paul wasn’t a suitable candidate for ministry due to his past, but the church of Philippi stuck with him through thick and thin. They supported him financially, they encouraged him and they prayed for him regularly. In response to their kindness and love, he wrote these words:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
So, beautiful Big Sis, we may not be on the same page spiritually but either way, I want you to know that “I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Little Sis x